Motobecane announced the Mulekick 853, a steel gravel bike with Shimano GRX components. They’re offering the complete bike in partnership with for a steal at $1,799 – including DT Swiss tubeless wheels and hydraulic disc brakes.

2020 Motobecane Mulekick 853 steel gravel bike

Motobecane is known for crazy low prices on some impressive bike builds, and their latest bikes follow suit. The new Mulekick 853 gravel bike is offered through, and has a spec sheet that compares to many bikes costing several times its asking price.

Highlights for the build include a Shimano GRX 2×11 drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, DT Swiss Spline tubeless-ready wheels, and Ritchey cockpit. Tire clearance is reported at 700x40mm, with no mention made of 650b compatibility.

The provided geometry chart has six sizes, while their online sizing guide (based on rider height) omits the 47cm size.

Motobecane is also offering a cyclocross-focused version called the Whipshot. The frame material and geometry appear to be identical to the Mulekick, but the build kit opts for a SRAM Force 1x drivetrain.

Both the Mulekick and Whipshot are available for pre-order now for $1,799.


      • I don’t like it, but this is their position:

        Motobecane does not provide stack and reach measurements in their geometry, as there are many schools of thought on bicycle sizing.

        Stack and reach was started for Tri bicycle fitting and we’ve found it leads to less comfort and more confusion with road bikes so we don’t use it

        Stack and reach does not take into account the position of the saddle, seat tube angles, head tube angles, stem lengths etc

        We like to suggest using the Effective Top tube length as that is the least changeable aspect of a bike’s fit which also takes into account the seat tube angle. Use one’s current road bike they like the fit of. Find that effective top tube length and choose a bike that has a similar effective top tube.

        Fine tune for personal comfort or preference. Stems can change length/rise. Saddles can change fore/aft/Up/down.

        Greg Lemond’s method for saddle height is pretty good start on figuring a ballpark bike size if one does not have a road bike they currently like the fit of that one can use that effective top tube length to select a similar bike.
        It’s one of the best ways to get a comfortable and efficient saddle height.

        “found in Greg Lemond’s Complete Book of Bicycling. Keep in mind that Greg did not invent or actually determine this chart. It was the product of research from Dr. Ginet, and supervised by Cyrille Guimard, who determined the ideal leg extension for maximum efficiency and power output while cycling, and made famous by the legendary cyclist, and 3 time Tour de France rider, Greg Lemond”

        Hamley’s method can also be found in that link

        Here is a link that talks about stem, top tube lengths.

        Here is a link about power and aero efficiency on a bike


    • BikesDirect hates geometry charts for the most part. Or listing what the rear spacing is on their disc brake bikes. It’s been a dealbreaker for me on more than one occasion.

        • Yeah,I know how to read and where to find the specs.I stand by my statement.
          As a matter of fact that’s how I’ve found out in the past that they did goofy things like making a single speed cross bike with disc brakes and 120 OLD spacing.But sometimes they don’t list those specs at all. It’s super inconsistent how they present their bikes.

    • You may be right. I’ve kinda had sticker shock browsing other gravel bikes since I bought my 2016 Raleigh Roker for $1,500. Carbon frame and fork, 2×10 Tiagra, Sprye mechanical disc brakes. Admittedly the stock wheelset and cranks were heavy.

    • No one is gouging anyone. If you buy a bike through a shop then the shop needs to make profit, as does the distributor. No one is getting gouged. In fact everyone is just trying to make a living. If you think profits are huge in the big industry you’re very mistaken. Those days stopped 25+ years ago.

  1. So all this is a bike name that BikesDirect owns. It’s just a name not some separate brand. They basically go to China and work with some factory on a spec. Nothing special. As far as other companies gouging their customers that is pure garbage.

    • “They basically go to China and work with some factory on a spec.”….and the bigger name brands are not doing this? Perhaps they provide more in-house R&D, prototyping, testing, and may provide more defined spec, but its still pretty much the same as they will contract out manufacturer.

        • Are you saying no major brand is having manufacturing performed in mainland China? Because that is false, regardless of one’s political view on China and Taiwan

          • > Are you saying no major brand is having manufacturing
            > performed in mainland China?

            No, I didn’t say that. I said that Taiwan is not China. Do you often have issues with reading comprehension?

              • If you are stating this Motobecane is made in Taiwan, that’s fine. But its not really relevant as the conversation is about “working with some factory on a spec”….which lots of companies do regardless if its China or Taiwan.

                If there something different about Taiwan manufacturers from China on a contract build process, I’d love to be informed.

  2. Looks like they got a deal on a set of last year’s gravel bike frames. 700x40c is very 2018/2019 model tire clearance. The best 2020 gravel/adventure bikes are all about that 29×2.0 mtb tire compatibility.

    • Not trying to be flip about this since I’m still shopping for a new gravel/road/whatever bike, but then why not just use a comfortable lightweight 29er HT with frame bag and multi-bottle capabilities? Tire width/comfort not an issue, a short travel fork option, etc.

      • I agree with you. People seem to keep wanting fatter and fatter tires on their “gravel bike”. So yeah…..why not just build up a nice hardtail. Plenty of nice tires out there between 2.0-2.2″ and can be found in slick, semi-slick, nobby, mud, etc.

        • Like most things, evolution pushing towards the more extreme. Until it collapses under the weight of its specialization. I ride a gravel bike with 37mm tires on it (wouldn’t mind 40s) because I ride it on the road too, and I don’t want to be pushing fat ass tires at 18 psi. I also have the position set to reflect that, so I can haul ass on the road, and maintain at least some control off road. But I’m never going to set KOMs down chunky descents, and that’s OK.

          • > Looks like they got a deal on a set of last year’s
            > gravel bike frames.

            Incorrect. This model and a lot of other models that they sell are made to order for them. Keep in mind that this model is a steel frame doesn’t use dropped chainstays.

            BikesDirect is not on the cutting edge of bike design… but that’s not their target market.

  3. Gotta love it how bikesdirect advertise “Our low price is $1799.95 Compare at $5500+”. What $5500+ comparable bikes are you talking about? LOL
    Here’s an example of $1600 Giant TCX, which I think is far superior
    * Cheaper
    * Lighter
    * In-house carbon by Taiwanese bike pioneers
    * Better tire clearance
    * Cleaner cable routing
    * Cyclocross race bike (e.g. best of both worlds)

    • Apples and oranges. Of course a carbon fiber frame is lighter than a steel frame. The Giant TCX you mentioned has SRAM Apex 1 with an FSA Omegra crankset. This Motobecane has full Shimano GRX 810. Also some people prefer external cable routing.

      • Out of curiosity, why do we need external routing for hydraulic? You install it once and forget about it. This is the reason, the industry is pushing the envelope to full integration.

        • The industry is pushing plenty of things that we don’t need… or that are even good ideas (10-tooth SRAM AXS cogs for example.)

    • In Giant-speak, “SLR” is their highest grade of aluminum…as in “Aluxx SLR”.

      To get to a carbon-framed bike with Giant you will need to look for the “Advanced” sub-brand.

  4. @typevertigo

    Of course. I know very well that TCX is aluminum. Since when steel is superior to aluminum? I train on steel and race on aluminum because steel is heavy and doesn’t feel snappy. When you dance on pedals, steel is not as responsive.
    Why do you bring carbon into this equation?

    • You literally are the one that brought carbon into the conversation, plus in ur original post about the “way better/ affordable” giant u literally listed carbon as one of the star points

  5. BD also has gravel bikes in carbon – also way cheaper than the big brands. I agree that what they do is take the latest trendy bike and send it to the same factories in Taiwan where the other ‘big’ brands get frames built. But I have two of their mountain bikes and the quality, parts and ride are excellent. The prices are far lower than bike shop brands but some of the other “factory direct” outfits are also very competitive. Check out Fezzari, Rando, Diamondback and Canyon, where pricing seems to fall somewhere between BD and the corner bike shop.

    • Rodriguez Bikes makes steel frame lighter than carbon. Each material has different advantages – disadvantages. My friend has this bike and loves it. I took it for a spin and I’m quite impressed with the feel. It’s much less harsh than my Focus AX1. I wish they made it with Force Etap.

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